Affiliate Marketing Plunge: Day 15

May 9, 2007 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Here’s a little update on the affiliate marketing.

In short, I’m still sucking. This morning was great and I thought I was actually getting somewhere, when I was at positive 69% ROI, but ever since then, I’ve just been accumulating more and more clicks with no more leads coming in.

So, I finished the day at -47.39% ROI, which, ironically enough, is still the best day I’ve had yet. Here’s the latest screenshot:


Nearly a grand in the hole… that’s bad, right? I haven’t even really been doing much actual work; most of my time spent doing this lately has been just updating my stats in Excel, and checking the stats across the 6 sites I use.

The other day I applied for another limit increase on my credit card, and after checking online yesterday, it appears they’ve approved it already. This will help me in the future if I continue to do this affiliate marketing thing.

Anyhow, I have a few questions for you guys, perhaps one of you out there knows the answer(s)?:

1. In Excel, is there any way to make all positive numbers appear as green text? Right now it just shows black, but it’d be nice to have them show as green. I know you can manually change the background of cells to different colours but I’m wondering about automatically having positive $ output as green.

2. Is there any way to make the dates automatically increment? Right now I just hand update them and this takes time. In relation, sometimes when I copy and paste the total row down to make more room, it will keep the ‘memory’ of what cells to do the math on, and will do so from like 2 rows above it, but sometimes it doesnt, and just keeps it’s old formula, meaning I have to keep updating them each time. How come it sometimes does this but not others, and how can I make it so I can just keep copy/pasting it to make more room and don’t have to keep updating them?

3. This is really bugging me; in MSN AdCenter, am I blind or is there no way to select data from a specific date?!? The reasons I want to do this are obvious, and as you can see from my spreadsheet, I’m forced to just put the total down, which is completely insane. Is there no way to do this? If not… wow.

I talked to my affiliate managers from Copeac and AzoogleAds, and was able to get rate increases on both of my campaigns there, one by $0.50 and the other by $2. This is small, but helps nonetheless. Just goes to show you never know what you’ll get if you don’t ask.

So… yeah. I’m completely sucking with the affiliate marketing thing. One of the issues is it being so time consuming for me. I’m so used to having stuff automatically set up and working by itself, and affiliate marketing requires a lot of constant stat checking, at least when you’re starting out. It also doesn’t help that I was stubborn enough to purposely choose the most competitive niches imaginable.

I’m going to take a little break from affiliate marketing and get some stuff done from my ‘todo’ list. If I stay focused too much on one thing for a long time I get bored, and we can’t have that, can we?

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Posted: May 9th, 2007 under Affiliate Marketing  

36 Responses to “Affiliate Marketing Plunge: Day 15”

  1. Sam says:

    First of all, don’t ever bid more then 25 cents on a term, find those long tail keywords that get you position 1-3 for only ten cents or less. Don’t say that’s impossible, because it isn’t.

  2. Tyler Cruz says:

    Would be insane if I found such terms, at least ones that give some sort of decent volume.

  3. James says:

    Tyler you can still get volume with other terms. I think you really need to change it up. Lets use the keyword car for instance. If you use volvo cars, used cars, free car, fast cars, those are all rated at .05 cents or even insurance car. Now even though the term “insurance car” is only searched according to my tools 500 or so times a month, if you pay .05 to .20 cents a click and have a page setup for “car insurance” instead you could transfer that into high paying clicks or affiliate cash.

    I strongly believe you should look at keywords that aren’t so high priced or main stream. Pick words that are relative to the ones you can convert into high paid. Volume isn’t good if you are losing so much money. Find niche targets and work on one a day and once you start making money with one keep it up, and add a second once you are able to control your money.

    Make sure you use google analytics for every page to keep track of everything. Arbitrage is not something to fool around with and My close friend lost thousands doing a technique similar to yours. Be careful, and good luck.

  4. Tyler, now that you’re taking a break from Affiliate Marketing, any chance you’re going to give PPC arbitrage another shot? I’m starting on my second week, and I have to say I’m quite pleased so far. It’s a lot of work (just like Affiliate Marketing), but learning it won’t cost you nearly as much.

    From what I’ve found, as long as you don’t bid more than $0.10 per keyword, you’re not going to lose more than a few bucks figuring out whether a niche is profitable or not. Another benefit of going the PPC route is that although the long tail keywords don’t send much volume, you can register a domain like and take advantage of the fact that there are tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of niches that you can create pages for. Finally, since you’re going for clicks (and not conversions), you can get good results from engines like 7Search and Miva. Once you find a layout that works, all you have to focus on is creating enough pages to generate your desired volume.

  5. Tyler Cruz says:

    Nope, I don’t like arbitrage mainly because of the content-writing.

    Anyhow, I’m already enjoying my little break; I’ve started writing a review of Copeac for PublisherSpot ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. CottonGear says:

    Tyler, you have that mindset of every affiliate beginner… that volume = $$. This is just another classic example of quality over quantity. All that ‘volume’ is doing for you now is costing you more money. Go for those long tail keyword phrases that are highly targeted. Step away from those keyword tools for a second and write down keyword phrases that you yourself would enter to search for these offers. The majority of users are using at least 3 to 5+ keywords in each of their search queries.

  7. Also, to answer your AdCenter question:

    Click the Reports tab

    By default, if you want to see how much you spent Yesterday, all you have to do is click the Run Report button on the right side of the page. If you would like to pick a different date, just click the drop-down box labeled Date range and then click Run report after selecting your desired date.

  8. Fair enough, the Copeac review should be interesting.

    However, if you change your mind, there’s no reason to waste time writing content for arbi landing pages when you have great resources like EzineArticles at your disposal ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. wesley says:

    Soo… You are loosing money every day yet aren’t changing anything? Just updating your stats? What do you think will happen? Magical fairies will increase your CTR?

  10. Tyler Cruz says:

    NEVER underestimate the power of magical fairies and their magical pixie dust…

  11. Fryman says:

    Excel green numbers:
    Select the range of cells you want to format. Right click- format cells- number- custom
    Go to the value that says $#,##0.0);[Red]($#,##0.0) and add [Green] to the begining of it, so it will say


    Voila! Positives are green and negatives are red.

  12. rpanella says:

    Tyler, now that you have some data on the offers you are running, for each niche you should take the total revenue and divide it be the number of clicks you have received to find out what you current EPC is. Then set you max bid to somewhere below this number. Sure, your volume will drop considerably, but this should over time return a positive ROI. Then work on increasing your volume by expanding your keywords to get more clicks at this lower click price.

    As it stands with a 80% ROI, just to break even you would need to either increase your conversion rate or payout by 5x, or decrease your click cost by 5x. Any tweaking of the landing page, ad copy, etc won’t get you anything near 5x the conversion rate, so the only solution is to work with a lower CPC or move on to a different niche and consider this one a failure.

  13. rpanella says:

    That should be -80% ROI in my post above.

  14. Michelle says:

    Oh my goodness, I would be scared. At least you are not in debt to start with I guess.

    I’ve read some excellent advice on targetting niche keywords in these comments lately. Tyler, I hope you’ll consider trying your hand at niches instead.

    By the way, your affiliate marketing updates are making great reading… almost tempting me to try out Adwords again.

  15. Sunfrog says:

    Don’t give up Tyloo!
    Do what the people in the comments are telling you, they are giving everyone great advice! I love this thread!

  16. scoby says:

    I had stopped checking here as often as I used to
    but your recent posts have been really interesting Tyler.
    Keep it up.

    I have to say even though I don’t do any PPC I would also recommend that you stop paying so much for keywords.

    separate the long tail infrequent kw from the expensive common ones. Reduce the volume until you can at least break even consistently. even if it’s only $10 a day you can reproduce this across different niches and get them on autopilot.

    Best of luck Tyler, good to see you taking on something new and letting us know the details.

  17. StinkyT says:

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  18. kyle says:

    Hey since you are not going to be doing this anymore….can you release what campaigns you were working with?

    Also you might want to release your spreadsheet….Makes for a cool download for those who don’t want to make there own.

  19. tke71709 says:

    Easier way to make the numbers coloured.

    Format > Conditional Formatting
    Cell value equal to or greater than 0
    Click Format
    Select Colour = Green

    Do the same for red (except cell value less than 0)

  20. says:

    I heard its better to invest in Adcenter since its cheaper for keywords and easier for newbies

  21. […] recent “Affiliate Marketing Plunge” has brought up some good questions that I thought deserved to be addressed […]

  22. Ralf Skirr says:

    Keep going Tyler! It’s been interesting thus far.

  23. Ben says:

    Thats insane ๐Ÿ˜€ , so much money spend without a real success! Hope that u will do better in the next days/weeks/years!

    Keep Working :).


  24. Tyler Cruz says:

    Thanks tke7 [had to go with the easier route Fryman :)]

    Any ideas as to my other Excel questions?
    Oh, and AdCenter…

  25. jigu says:

    Hey Tyler,your negative ROI is falling,just keep moving and make it positive.

  26. Tyler Cruz says:

    Found out how to do the date thing in Excel too now ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Man, really wish MSN AdCenter wasn’t so gay though.

  27. Affiliate PPC – Help Me, Losing Money – Avoid Common Newbie Mistakes…

    Ok this is some REALLY good stuff from 2 blogs.
    If you do PPC or are trying to pick a niche or have a
    niche you think may be too competitive you need to read!

    Tyler Cruz has been bravely bloggin……

  28. Stick with it Tyler, but i’d put some of these guy’s advice into practice. They seem to know what there on about.

  29. Rob Z. says:

    > 2. … how can I make it so I can just keep copy/pasting it to make more room and donโ€™t have to keep updating them?

    Not sure if this is what you are referring to but these two tricks may help: insert rows above (but not immediately above) the summary row instead of copying, this will expand the sum formula range automatically… it doesn’t take too long with the Alt,I,R shortcut. Another way is to select a bunch of complete rows below, copy, then right click -> insert rows somewhere above the summary row.

    Also if you need absolute cell references in the formulas, put a $ before the col or row to be kept constant, e.g. “=$A$1” will reference that exact cell no matter how you fill down or copy the formula. Selecting the cell reference in the formula and pressing F4 is a shortcut to put in the ‘$’s instead of having to type them. The absolute references automatically adjust if you insert rows above the cell referenced.

    • Tyler Cruz says:

      Thanks Rob, both Insert Row “tricks” worked. I’ll try to remember that in the future so I can do that from now on. The second tip is very handy so I can just select 8-10 rows and insert them to shift more room quickly.

      • Rob Z. says:

        Sorry for the late followup but there’s actually yet another way: I was playing around with Excel the other day and it turns out you can just select down along the left coordinate column at the row where you want to insert new rows, then right click -> Insert. Yeah I admit, these aren’t really “tricks”, I just never got around to really learning the program. It’s incredibly powerful… I was skimming the help and noticed that there is actually a worksheet function to access the Win32 API (not sure what you would do with this tho).

        I saw some clever stuff tho when it comes to improvising worksheet functions that aren’t built in. For example word count =LEN(A1)-SUBSTITUTE(A1,” “,””)+1. Regexp match would be nice, I’m sure there are some Excel addons for that… also I haven’t looked into it but I think there should be a way to sort/operate on multiple worksheets at once (i.e. past the 65k row limit), and selectively display rows by some filter criteria.

        All this stuff is very userful in PPC…

        • Rob Z. says:

          sorry that should be: word count =LEN(A1)-LEN(SUBSTITUTE(A1,” “,””))+1

          …and maybe an IF(A1=””,0,…) wrapper to account for empty cells.

  30. Tyler,

    Any updates on your affiliate marketing plunge? Haven’t heard anything about this in a while…


  31. […] Long-time readers of my blog may remember how a year ago (13 months to be exact) I tried my hand at PPC affiliate marketing for the first time. […]


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